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Some Thoughts on Downtown Dayton

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This topic contains 44 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by Walker Evans Walker Evans 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • #518460

    tree_sketcher
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    I’m consistently amazed that Dayton has not been able to take advantage of its superior location and its unique history. Downtown has a lot of good bones and could be really special. Think of other smaller cities that build draw from larger neighboring metro regions but still have their own identity. Boulder, Raleigh, Albany, and Greenville come to mind.

    #518461
    Walker Evans
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    ToddAnders said:
    So, Walker is being pretty protective of Dayton, so daytonunderground coming next?

    I said I didn’t feel unsafe during our one night there. I wouldn’t really call that protective. Perhaps you overlooked my original post where I said their Downtown is completely devoid of people on a Friday night and a Saturday afternoon. That’s not a good thing.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the Oregon District for the very fact that it was a change of pace from what I’m used to. I can see the area getting old after awhile though, as it’s fairly small at only 60 acres (the Arena District is 75, German Village is 233).

    #518462
    ToddAnders
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    I don’t overlook much; if you are expanding, great. If not, ok too.

    So as far as the Oregon District, yes, it is a change of pace.

    #518463
    Walker Evans
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    ToddAnders said:
    I don’t overlook much; if you are expanding, great. If not, ok too.

    We’re expanding, locally. No intention on growing CU into other regions anytime soon.

    This post was started exactly for the reason originally stated. We went to Dayton for a day and wanted to share the experience and start a conversation.

    #518464
    ToddAnders
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    Good; As you saw, Dayton needs a good 20-25 years of good leadership. Not to shit on them, but you can spend just a few hours there and get it all.

    Highlights from me:

    Dorthy Lane Market
    The Pine Club
    NCR Country and Golf Club
    Cox Arboretum

    #518465

    GCrites80s
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    Even downtown D.C. (NW) is sleepy at night, so that’s not always a death knell for a city.

    #518466
    Walker Evans
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    GCrites80s said:
    Even downtown D.C. (NW) is sleepy at night, so that’s not always a death knell for a city.

    It’s true that by their very nature, “Central Business Districts” are at their most vibrant from Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm. The Financial District in NYC empties out quite a bit at night and on weekends as well.

    The fact that so many buildings were boarded and/or empty was more of the problem that we saw.

    #518467
    Snarf
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    In 31 years in Ohio, I’ve been to Dayton once.

    Still that’s more times than I’ve been to Michigan. :)

    #518468
    Walker Evans
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    Snarf said:
    In 31 years in Ohio, I’ve been to Dayton once.

    There’s a first time for everything. As of this past weekend, I’ve officially been there twice. ;)

    #518469

    mrsgeedeck
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    My In Laws live in Dayton, and honestly, every time we’re there it seems more and more desolate. When I first started dating @geedeck, there was an active strip mall about five minutes from his mom, now even that is gone, and each time we go back he points out something else that has closed down.
    We’ve been through downtown a few times for weddings and such (and I think we’ve even eaten at that Soup place) and have had a similar experience. Aside from an Occupy Dayton tent, we were the only ones driving through on a Saturday afternoon.

    I think in some cases, urban sprawl has been Dayton’s biggest enemy. While most of @geedeck‘s family technically live in Dayton, it’s always a 40+ minute freeway drive to visit his aunt from his mom’s, or to get from his dad’s to his mom’s etc,. It hard for a thriving city to sustain that many suburbs, let alone one in need of a major economic driver.

    #518470

    FSonicSmith
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    I was born and raised in Dayton. Lived in upper Daytonview as a kid, near Siebenthaler and Salem Ave. Spent many a Sunday at the downtown library and roaming the nearby Army Surplus store. Even back then, in the days of NCR and Mead, downtown Dayton was pretty dead.
    So today, downtown is still dead (and Walker, I would love to hear how much the hotel room cost and what the hotel room was like) and the places to go and eat are generally South near Oakwood and Centerville.
    The Pine Club is near downtown; http://thepineclub.com/thepineclubmenu.aspx
    The Oakwood location of Dorothy Lane Market beats the crap out of Hills; http://www.dorothylane.com/stores/locations.pl
    And then there is Rue Domaine for good French bistro; http://ruedumainerestaurant.com/

    #518471

    misskitty
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    I have been to Dayton a lot and now even more while doing a good amount of urbex sometimes alone. Although the city is empty, I have thankfully (even though I am prepared) not had one safety issue or sketchy situation yet.

    #518472
    Walker Evans
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    FSonicSmith said:
    So today, downtown is still dead (and Walker, I would love to hear how much the hotel room cost and what the hotel room was like).

    The hotel was kind of nice. Historic building, nice enough common areas (the lobby had a weird overpowering scented candle smell) and a heated 7th floor pool, hot tub and gym with a view.

    (Photos from the hotel’s website)

    The individual room decor was a little dated, and I thought it was weird that there was a mini-fridge just sitting in the corner rather than underneath a countertop as you’d usually see. The heaters didn’t work very well and it stayed a little chilly over night even with them cranked all the way up.

    For being a larger hotel it kind of felt like there were only around 30 people staying there as we saw very few people in hallways or the lobby.

    http://www.daytongrandhotel.com

    We got a “King Bed Suite” that had a living room with pullout sofa bed. It looks like the online going rate for a Friday night stay is $129 (pre tax & fees). Garage parking was free, though no valet. Anne found a Groupon a few months ago for $77, which was what motivated us to go in the first place:

    http://www.groupon.com/deals/ga-dayton-grand-hotel

    Seemed like a cheap enough excuse to get out of town for a day without a long drive.

    #518473
    ColDayMan
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    I thought it was a fair write up. I’m from the city of Dayton (thus, ColumbusDaytonMan) and currently live in the metro (lived in Columbus for almost ten years). Downtown Dayton without question hit rock-bottom in the early 2000′s after the Arcade, various restaurants, hotels, and headquarters (Mead, Reynolds & Reynolds, Citizen Federal, etc) left. Dayton is the state’s fourth largest metropolitan area yet perhaps one of the most decentralized due to the severe flight of the city (Toledo and Youngstown are comparable, in a way). Downtown, in essence, became an empty shell but around the late 2000′s started to slowly come back. New residential along Patterson, more condos in the Webster Station district (east of downtown; a smaller version of the Brewery District), and new-ish restaurants (Olive, De’lish, some Indian-Mex place).

    Downtown Dayton is certainly very safe, even at Third & Main (what suburbanites would equate with ‘notorious’ or ‘crime-ridden’ due to black folks getting off the bus). The neighborhoods surrounding downtown are generally stable (Oregon St. Anne’s Hill [architecturally, a better Franklinton], South Park [Merion Village-esque but a tad older], McPhersonTown, and Grafton Hill). The Oregon District reminds me more of Parsons than it does the Short North with a more blue-collar ecclectic mix than a Level or a Hubbard Grill.

    Overall, Walker saw a city with issues but potential (particularly the ‘mothballed buildings’). I’m a booster for both Dayton and Columbus so bah.

    #518474
    Urban Dansigner
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    mrsgeedeck said:
    I think in some cases, urban sprawl has been Dayton’s biggest enemy. While most of @geedeck‘s family technically live in Dayton, it’s always a 40+ minute freeway drive to visit his aunt from his mom’s, or to get from his dad’s to his mom’s etc,. It hard for a thriving city to sustain that many suburbs, let alone one in need of a major economic driver.

    Absolute agreement on this argument. Metro Dayton’s population has not grown in 30-40 years but it continues the ever expansion outward! Go out to Beavercreek/Wright State area and you can see the strange cancerous growth that should be city like, but is not, while the downtown is mothballed.

    Having grown up in the Dayton Metro (Kettering to be exact) I found the people to be completely fearful of anything that could not fit into a narrow range of acceptable. It is great to be in a city like Columbus that is smart and open. My take of Dayton may be that of the adolescent that left Dayton, but sometimes perception is reality.

    Like Walker I think it is great that much of the downtown Dayton is still intact and that it has great potential, but with most of the big employers (Mead, NCR, Elder Beerman, Rikes) gone I do not know how you pull it off. Sometimes I have the same thoughts for Columbus – I hate going to the outer belt and seeing Fortune 500 companies lining the freeways instead of having gleaming towers in the core.

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